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Lovely Day by Bill Withers

Album: MenagerieReleased: 1977Charted:
30
7
  • Skip Scarborough was a songwriter and producer who worked with Earth, Wind & Fire, Patti Labelle, LTD, and many other R&B stars before his death in 2003. He wrote the music for this song, and was also the inspiration for the lyrics Withers came up with. Withers told us: "Skip was a very nice, gentle man. The way Skip was, every day was just a lovely day. He was an optimist. If I had sat down with the same music and my collaborator had been somebody else with a different personality, it probably would have caused something else to cross my mind lyrically. It was a combination of the music and the person and the ambiance in the room."
  • Withers: "We're all sponges in a sense. You put us around very nice people, and the nice things come out in us. You put us around some jerks, and we practice being jerks. We all adjust. Did you ever notice the difference in the way you speak to your grandmother or your best contemporary friend? If I had sat down with the same music and my collaborator had been somebody else with a different personality, it probably would have caused something else to cross my mind lyrically."
  • In 1999, this was used in a series of very popular commercials for The Gap, where it helped sell a lot of Khakis. Many people discovered the song because of the commercial.
  • Near the end of the song, Withers holds a note for 18 seconds... "Lovely Daaaaaaaaay." This might be the longest held vocal note of any hit song.
  • In 1992, a group called The Soul System remade this into a dance song that was used in the movie The Bodyguard. It wasn't the first time one of Withers' songs was made into a dance hit - in 1987 Club Noveau had a #1 hit with a cover of "Lean On Me."
  • Artists who have covered this include Clarence Carter, Hootie & the Blowfish and Take 6. Luther Vandross also recorded it with Busta Rhymes on Vandross' last album Dance With My Father. (Read the full interview with Bill Withers.)
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Comments: 12

On January 21st 1978, Bill Withers performed "Lovely Day" on the ABC-TV program 'American Bandstand'...
One month earlier on December 4th, 1977 it entered Billboard's Hot Top 100 chart; and on January 29th it peaked at #30 (for 2 weeks) and spent 12 weeks on the Top 100...
It reached #6 on Billboard's R&B Singles chart...
Mr. Withers will celebrate his 76th birthday this coming July 4th (2014).
Barry - Sauquoit, Ny
First generation "smooth jazz" guitarist Wilbert Longmire did a really tight instrumental of this song back around 1980.Rip - Los Angeles, Ca
Maroon 5 do a toned-down, almost acoustic cover version of this song on the soundtrack to the Luke Wilson movie "Hoot".Leigh - Cape Town, South Africa
Dear people from songfacts.com, In the first block of informatic text, "ambiance" should be "ambience". BTW I love this song, it's one of my favourite songs ever... :DJasper - Nieuwegein, Netherlands
Everytime i hear this song i think of my father...so playful. This was one of his favorite cd's that he would blast through the house on any given weekend to get me and my sisters out of bed :-) Whenever we would drive together he would hol the last note....and we would compete to see who held it longer.....he would crack his voice and start up again and SWEAR he didn't cheat. Needless to say this is one of my favorite songs, i plan to walk down the aisle to it with the future father of my children. I love you daddy....always. love bookie beau LOLLindsay - Ny, Ny
Everytime I hear this song it makes me think of my wife when we first met. There wasn't a cloud in the sky and she has such a beautiful spirit that makes you just want to lay back in the sun and soak it all in. She is so easy going yet caring and thoughtful at the same time. Just like a sunflower opening up in the morning to the first light of the day all bright, shiny and new. When Challenges seem to weight you down I think of that time and think of her and life doesn't seem so heavy anymore. Thank you for Bill Withers putting the words to a song that I feel captures her spirit! Lovely Day!Tim - Murray, Ut
Your lovely Mum had FANTASTIC taste Darrin,God bless her. This song just brings back so so many great memories to me as a kid. It's my all time fav song cause no matter how down you feel,it still makes you smile & warms your heart.
What a great great song:-)
Gerry - Derry N'ireland, United Kingdom
My mother always said that if she ever got married, she would walk down the isle to this song. It's amazing how beautiful and funky (at the same time) this song is. She never got the chance to get married (she passed away 1978) but I'm now a DJ and I use it while playing at weddings. RIP MOM and I'll keep your song alive. Peace to Bill Withers for this gem.Darrin - Savannah, Ga
I heard 'Lovely Day' in the film "Roll Bounce" and fell in love with it again. I remembered it from the 70's and the awesome memories that go with it. It's just a great song that feels good.Tina - Buckhannon, Wv
Regarding the long-held note mentioned above:

Several other songs have longer ones. "Dim All the Lights" by Donna Summer and "All Out of Love" by Air Supply come to mind (thanks to Casey Kasem on AT 40 for mentioning these at some point).
Kent - Raleigh, Nc
In 2000, Kirk Franklin and Nu Nation made a gospel version of "Lovely Day".Kee Kee - Memphis, Tn
In 1999, rap group T.W.D.Y sampled 'Lovely Day' for their song "Players Holiday."Ashley - Pgh, Pa